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Liberty condemns new inquest delay over Cheryl James's death at Deepcut barracks

Mid Wales | News | Published:

The independent human rights organisation Liberty has said that delaying a new inquest into the death of a soldier from the Shrophire border would be "intolerable" for her family.

Lawyers from Liberty, acting for Des and Doreen James, of Llanymynech, whose daughter Cheryl died at the controversial Deepcut Army barracks almost 20 years ago, say it is a disgrace that Surrey Police want to delay the inquest.

They said such a move would "prolong the couple's suffering".

Recently the High Court granted an application for a new inquest into the death of Private James.

The 18-year-old was found with a single shot to the head between her right eye and the bridge of her nose after she had been on sentry duty in November 1995.

She was one of four young recruits who suddenly died in unexplained shootings at the Surrey base between 1995 and 2002.

Surrey police want Judge Brian Barker QC, who is leading the fresh inquest, to consider adjourning it so the hearing can be held at the same time those of the three other young soldiers who died at the barracks.

Liberty says this could put back the inquest by years.

"Such a delay would have a devastating impact on Mr and Mrs James," said Emma Norton for Liberty.

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"They have come so far and made so much progress only to have Surrey Police make this 11th hour request to delay matters. It is intolerable."

Mr James said he and his wife were at a loss to understand why Surrey police had asked for the inquest to be delayed.

"We are totally confused and do not understand why Surrey police are being so obstructive. It is so cruel.

"This is the same police force that let us down in 1995 handing over jurisdiction to the military and let us down again in 2002/04 when its investigation was a cursory, box ticking exercise."

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